100% Bonus On Transferred LifeMiles

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Avianca’s LifeMiles program has just announced that they’re offering a 100% bonus on transferred miles between July 12 and July 26, 2016. Obviously this is only useful if you have an existing LifeMiles mileage balance, since you can’t transfer miles you don’t have.

LifeMiles-Bonus

LifeMiles charges 1.5 cents per transferred mile, and you can transfer up to 75,000 miles per year (before the 100% bonus). In other words, transferring 75,000 miles would cost $1,125, and you’d receive a total of 150,000 miles in the account you transfer to. At a cost of 1.5 cents per generated mile, that’s not a half bad deal.

LifeMiles-Bonus

This used to be the best method to generate LifeMiles, given that with a 100% bonus the cost to transfer miles is 1.5 cents each, while the cost to purchase miles is 1.65 cents each (the costs used to be the same, but in 2014 LifeMiles raised the cost to purchase miles by 10%). However, lately we’ve seen LifeMiles offer several bonuses of more than 100% on purchased miles, including the following:

Asiana-A380-First-Class-003
Redeem LifeMiles for Asiana A380 first class

In other words, based on the promotions we’ve seen the past year, the better option for generating LifeMiles is to outright purchase them with a bonus of more than 100%, rather than to transfer them.

The good news is that the value of LifeMiles has been increasing lately, given that they’ve fixed what I consider to be the two biggest downsides of the LifeMiles program:

LifeMiles-Lufthansa

If you do end up paying to transfer miles, keep in mind that LifeMiles processes mileage transactions directly, meaning it would qualify as an airfare purchase. Therefore you’ll want to use a credit card that maximizes the points you earn on airfare, like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold or Citi Prestige® Card, which offer triple points on airfare and no foreign transaction fees.

Bottom line

Over the past year the value of LifeMiles has gone up, given that they now allow redemptions for Lufthansa first class and mixed cabin awards, which is great news. If you want to generate more LifeMiles for a specific redemption, this is a great option, though I wouldn’t take advantage of it for the purpose of speculatively buying miles, since I suspect we’ll see a better bonus on purchased miles in the future.

However, bonuses on purchased miles don’t come around as often as they used to, and this is also a great opportunity to consolidate miles between multiple accounts.

Do you plan on transferring LifeMiles with a 100% bonus?

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Comments

  1. Ben, is Lifemiles blocking Air New Zealand award space?

    e.g., I can see one business class seat open on SIN-AKL with NZ on 10th August. Both Aeroplan and United websites can confirm this.
    However, Lifemiles does not show this at all.
    I checked this theory across whatever NZ business class space I could find (which admittedly is sparse).

    Can you confirm something or otherwise?

  2. Question – Does transferring LifeMiles from account 1 to account 2 reset the mileage expiration date on Account 1?

  3. Hmm.. 100% is actually one of their worst bonuses I’ve seen – so I would recommend passing for most unless someone needs a top up.

  4. Thanks for this, Ben – I plan on buying – does anyone else notice that SAA space seems to be blocked on Lifemiles?

  5. their mixed cabin award is a trap. a long haul 14 hr cross-ocean in coach + 2 hr domestic in business will charge business award miles.

  6. @Dada,

    No access to SAA with LM for over a year at least, they started with denying access to TATL for the IAD and JFK routes and then later added other routes. Sometimes you can trick out JNB-LHR I believe but I believe that’s it. I’ve raised it with LM and the answer we only provide what’s provided to us. I thought maybe it happened when SAA went to revenue based but I’m not sure. Either way it’s bloody frustrating when you see seats and you are only left with UA as the only reasonable option.

  7. @ DJ — See Ben’s comment above. I believe the mixed-cabin restriction no longer applies.

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